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Abandoned

A Letter About the History of Cayman Brac's Divi Tiara Beach Resort

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A Letter About the History of Cayman Brac's Divi Tiara Beach Resort

I received a letter from someone with more insight on Divi Tiara Beach Resort, the place documented in a short film I created in 2013.

Jordan,

My parents were looking for a vacation home in the tropics, away from the noise and bustle of Grand Cayman, which at that time was still quiet compared to the vacation mecca is has been and is today. They visited The Brac and while staying at the Buccaneers Inn not far from the airport, met a man who owned beach-front property on the south side of the island. Mom and Dad bought a large part of this property for our home from Charlie Briggs and his wife Ester not long after. Several years later, Dad, with Charlie’s help and background as NYC electrician, helped bring the first electricity to the Island.

My uncle, who was an architect, helped design the complex. The two-story building that faces south to the ocean across the pool, was a one-story building that had four rooms. If you were looking at the structure from the beach, the four original rooms were connected to a large living room and kitchen as you moved west. This was the first phase built in 1958/59. The roof on this building was a giant rain collection pan used for re-filling the cistern.

The second phase was a separate two-story building built in the mid 1960’s that was just to the east, but not connected, to the main single story structure. There was a bedroom upstairs and another large living room below with floor to ceiling sliding windows. Each level had a large deck/patio facing south to the ocean.

There were several, smaller outbuildings as well as the tennis court that were also built. There was no dock, no palapa or bar and none of the multi room structures that later became the Divi resort. I visited when my family brought my father’s ashes to spread on the water in 2002. It bore little resemblance to the place I grew up enjoying as a child. I was two years old when I first traveled there.

I hope this presents a clearer vision of how our old home remains etched in our minds. It’s not of the abandoned and forgotten structure you magnificently filmed. My hope is that Divi will sell the property at some point and perhaps a new owner can resurrect the quality and simplicity this location deserves.
— Rich

Watch the full film for free at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KGf4J8pcVY.

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Watch 'The Sidewalks of New York'

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Watch 'The Sidewalks of New York'

The Sidewalks of New York is a documentary film that begins with the tale of the famous song of the same name, and builds every moment toward the fascinating story behind Governor Al Smith, the most forgotten historical figure in American history. The elections of 1924 and 1928 are featured prominently in the story's second half, and along the way a handful of songs from the same time period are played to portray that, while this film is somewhat about the tune 'The Sidewalks of New York', the other songs do their part to lift up and bring the story home, all joining together to complete one of the most inspiring tales in New York history.

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Massive 1876 Photo Zoom: Three Promos

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Massive 1876 Photo Zoom: Three Promos

The Sidewalks of New York releases in three days on September 21st on YouTube. Today I'm releasing three promo videos.

Credit for this incredible 19th century photo goes to Joshua Beal. It was shot from atop the Brooklyn Bridge's Brooklyn Tower during the bridge's construction in 1876. Here's one below, and visit here to see the two others.

These brief promo videos are an interesting way of exploring the huge photograph that makes a brief appearance in the film and its trailer.

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Announcing 'The Sidewalks of New York', a documentary film by Jordan Liles

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Announcing 'The Sidewalks of New York', a documentary film by Jordan Liles

Logo: Wohlman Studios.

Logo: Wohlman Studios.

Today September 6, 2016, I am proud to announce that production began in early 2016 for The Sidewalks of New York, a new documentary that will tell one of the most fascinating stories in New York history. I am thrilled to be able to shed light on such an interesting tale, and to allow people to discover several long forgotten historical figures.

It's important to remember that even in this digital age, one cannot find everything online. So much history is still locked away in the attics of homes and basements of museums. And sometimes, as with The Sidewalks of New York, there's an incredible story available to anyone with an internet connection, but it's in pieces. An article here. A photo there. An address in an old directory. History is much more than meets the eye. We just need to spend some time looking.

The Sidewalks of New York takes the bold step of being a documentary without interviews, instead opting for a sweeping presentation with a beautiful soundtrack. I am completing all research and opinion gathering, spanning century-old sources including books, newspapers, magazines, city directories, census records, photographs and films, many of which will appear in the film. These sources will provide the legitimacy and trust that audiences usually receive from interviews.

I was inspired to create this film after watching the entirety of New York: A Documentary Film, created by Ric Burns and Steeplechase Films. With the advent of today's incredible technology and access to information, no longer do documentaries necessarily require multiple crew members and even slightly sizable budgets, nor must the documentaries be restricted to the unwritten rules of the past. We can create films that are singular, representing only the vision of the one creator. It’s exciting that now, for the first time in history, anyone can create a documentary and show it to the world for free.

In the past, free films often had the stigma as likely being free for a reason. The tools so readily available to today's creators provide the ability to reach the world with amazing tales. And time spent on a project can often equal a great level of quality storytelling. I hope I am able to accomplish this with The Sidewalks of New York.

The film comes in at about an hour long, shorter than most documentaries but certainly longer than most online videos. Instead of editing down to a shorter running time to sacrifice moments in history and satisfy a very broad audience, my thought process has always been to not let that be a factor. I make this film for those who love New York history, and it’s directed, written and edited so that it moves quickly with a variety of strong and eye-opening moments, and overall is hopefully an enjoyable experience.

The teaser for The Sidewalks of New York is set to release soon, and a release date for the film's YouTube debut will be announced the same day. Visit jordanliles.com, follow Jordan Liles Films and subscribe on YouTube.

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